Articles | Volume 15, issue 17
Research article
09 Sep 2015
Research article |  | 09 Sep 2015

Monitoring compliance with sulfur content regulations of shipping fuel by in situ measurements of ship emissions

L. Kattner, B. Mathieu-Üffing, J. P. Burrows, A. Richter, S. Schmolke, A. Seyler, and F. Wittrock

Abstract. In 1997 the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) adopted MARPOL Annex VI to prevent air pollution by shipping emissions. It regulates, among other issues, the sulfur content in shipping fuels, which is transformed into the air pollutant sulfur dioxide (SO2) during combustion. Within designated Sulfur Emission Control Areas (SECA), the sulfur content was limited to 1 %, and on 1 January 2015, this limit was further reduced to 0.1 %. Here we present the set-up and measurement results of a permanent ship emission monitoring site near Hamburg harbour in the North Sea SECA. Trace gas measurements are conducted with in situ instruments and a data set from September 2014 to January 2015 is presented. By combining measurements of carbon dioxide (CO2) and SO2 with ship position data, it is possible to deduce the sulfur fuel content of individual ships passing the measurement station, thus facilitating the monitoring of compliance of ships with the IMO regulations. While compliance is almost 100 % for the 2014 data, it decreases only very little in 2015 to 95.4 % despite the much stricter limit. We analysed more than 1400 ship plumes in total and for months with favourable conditions, up to 40 % of all ships entering and leaving Hamburg harbour could be checked for their sulfur fuel content.

Short summary
On 1 January 2015, the International Maritime Organisation tightened the regulations for sulfur content of shipping fuels in Sulfur Emission Control Areas. Here we present data from a station near Hamburg harbour in the North Sea SECA, which uses in situ measurements of atmospheric trace gases to deduce the sulphur fuel content of passing ships. We compare data from 2014 before the regulation change and from January 2015 and show how this method can be used for compliance monitoring.
Final-revised paper